WORK-FAMILY POLICIES FROM ABROAD WOULD BENEFIT U.S. ECONOMY, WORKERS, AND FAMILIES JOINT ECONOMIC COMMITTEE HEARING FINDS
 
GAO Report Released at JEC Hearing Shows U.S. Lags Far behind Other Industrial Nations in Supporting Working Families
 
Maloney, Dingell, Schumer, Reed Urged GAO to Examine Child Care, Family Leave, and Flex Time Programs in U.S. and Around the World
 
Washington, DC- The United States lags behind other industrialized nations in supporting working families, witnesses told Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney (D-NY), Vice-Chair of the Joint Economic Committee (JEC), today during a hearing, “Importing Success: Why Work-Family Policies from Abroad Make Economic Sense for the U.S.” The report by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) was requested jointly by Maloney, Jon Dingell (D-MI), Chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Chairman of the Joint Economic Committee, and Sen. Jack Reed (D-RI).
 
Maloney convened the hearing to examine the need for family-friendly work policies, such as paid family leave time, increased access to quality child care, and flexible work schedules. Stronger work-family policies in other developed countries allow more women to work, enhance employers’ profitability, and improve overall economic productivity. Family-friendly work policies also help employers recruit and retain workers, significantly reducing the costs of employee turnover and retraining.
 
“The U.S. is failing its working families. American parents work longer hours and get less time off than parents in other countries,” said Maloney. “Balanced work-family policies are a win-win – the help create stable families, a productive workforce, and positive economic outcomes.”
 
Sen. Schumer said, “If we’re going to continue to lead the world in trade and economic policies, we need to revamp sub par work-family programs here at home. The GAO report reveals a tough road for many families to balance work and family life, yet we know the right work-family balance is critical for families and the U.S. economy to protect our economic leadership.”
 
“The GAO findings show that the U.S. is behind many other countries in public and corporate policy that fosters a productive work-family relationship,” Rep. Dingell said. “Indeed, policies that balance work and family life will help our overall economy to produce workers that are compensated well, lead healthy lifestyles, and enjoy the work they do. I hope that these findings will encourage U.S. businesses, and the Congress, to create policies with our working families in mind.”
 
At today’s hearing, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) presented findings from a new report on policies used abroad to help workers – especially women – balance the competing demands of employment and care-giving responsibilities. While American families often send both parents to work and spend more time at work than parents in other countries, the U.S. lags far behind other countries in providing paid leave or flexible schedules for care-giving responsibilities.
 
Expert witnesses at today’s hearing included:
  • Kay Brown, Acting Director of Education, Workforce, and Income Security, GAO
  • Janet Gornick, Professor of Political Science, Baruch College, City University of New York, Director of the Luxembourg Income Study, and the co-author of Families That Work
  • Ellen Bravo, Coordinator, the Multi-State Working Families Consortium, former Director of 9to5, and the author of Taking on the Big Boys
  • Laura Wallace, Director of the Work Life Program, Statistical Analysis Software Co.
  • Tim Kane, Director, Center for International Trade and Economics, Heritage Foundation
 
“Parents in all countries face competing demands on their time. But American families struggle more than families elsewhere – in part because American public policy offers less help to them than what’s available for working families in many other countries,” Gornick testified. “We’d do well to draw some lessons from the collective experience of many of our neighbors across the Atlantic.”
 
“Our bottom line savings from investing in our people has been estimated to be $75 million annually. In turn, those savings help improve our profitability as a company. Just as important, people represent the company’s principal and certainly most important ‘asset,’” Wallace said. 
 
 “We hear a lot of talk about family values and personal responsibility. And yet, in the United States today, being a good family member can put you job or your health
at risk,” said Bravo. “Employers can do a lot by implementing effective practices, many of which cost little or nothing and all of which strengthen the bottom line.”
 
The Joint Economic Committee, established under the Employment Act of 1946, was created by Congress to review economic conditions and to analyze the effectiveness of economic policy.
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MOMENTUM BUILDS FOR SCHUMER’S CALL FOR ADDITIONAL FEDERAL FUNDS TO AVERT SUBPRIME FORECLOSURE CRISIS
 
In Separate Speeches, Fed Chair Bernanke and Housing Secretary Jackson Give Support for Counseling as a Way Out of Subprime Foreclosure Crisis
 
Schumer Called for $300 Million in Increased Federal Funding for HUD to Distribute to Community Groups to Bolster Counseling for Families to Aver Home Foreclosures
 
Washington, DC – Today the Chairman of the Federal Reserve Board, Ben Bernanke, endorsed the basis of a proposal made by U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer (D-NY), the chairman of the Senate Housing Subcommittee and chairman of the Joint Economic Committee (JEC), to increase federal funds for community non-profits engaged in helping families in unsuitable subprime loans avoid losing their home to foreclosure. Yesterday, Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Alfonso Jackson made similarly supportive statements at a speech at the National Press Club.
 
Sen. Schumer said, “It is good news for homeowners and the economy that they momentum is building to boost federal funds for community groups that specialize in foreclosure prevention. In the last 24 hours, Chairman Bernanke and Secretary Jackson have given support to a proposal I made weeks ago to avert the subprime foreclosure crisis. This policy will help hundreds of thousands of families save their homes, and save billions in spillover costs from a surge in foreclosures. This seems like a cost-effective investment to me, and one that will help restore confidence in our shaky housing market. And to ensure that we don’t get into this mess again, I urge Chairman Bernanke and Secretary Jackson to join me in sealing the cracks in our regulatory system to prevent future widespread lending abuses.”
 
Chairman Bernanke gave his remarks via satellite on housing and subprime lending this morning to the International Monetary Conference in Capetown, South Africa. He endorsed housing and counseling as an effective tool for current and future homeowners. And Yesterday, Housing and Urban Development Secretary Alfonso Jackson in a speech to the National Press Club similarly endorsed non-profit counseling programs and additional federal funding for foreclosure prevention and counseling to help stem the tide of foreclosures in the subprime housing market.  
 
To enable community non-profits to successfully accommodate increasing caseloads, Schumer and other are proposing that Congress appropriate $300 million to provide to assist HUD-certified nonprofit organizations, with proven track records, in foreclosure prevention and intervention. Additional funding will allow non-profits to increase training and capacity to focus on default and foreclosure prevention counseling, to outreach to homeowners for early intervention, to improve the communications between refinances. The fund will be administered by HUD.
 
Bernanke’s relevant remarks are below:
 
“Whatever their effects on the broader economy, the problems in the subprime sector are causing real distress for many homeowners. To help mitigate the situation, the Federal Resere and other federal supervisory agencies are encouraging the banks and thrift institutions that we supervise to work with the borrowers who may be having trouble meeting their mortgage obligations, including identifying and contacting borrowers before they enter delinquency or foreclosure. Federal Reserve Banks around the country are cooperating with community and industry groups that work with borrowers and affected communities. We also continue to work with organizations that provide counseling about mortgage products to current and potential; homeowners. Studies suggest that counseling can be effective in helping borrowers make better financial decisions.
 
“In addition, we at the Federal Reserve, other regulators, and the Congress are evaluating what actions may be needed to prevent a recurrence of these problems. In deciding, we must walk a fine line: We have an obligation to prevent fraud and abusive lending; at the same time, we must tread carefully so as no to suppress responsible lending or eliminate refinancing opportunities for subprime borrowers.”
 
Jackson’s relevant remarks from yesterday are below:  
 
“...We also learned that while most people facing foreclosure are afraid of the banks, they are much more open to talking to a local non-profit counseling agency about their problems.”
 
“That’s why housing, counseling, and financing education are so important. This Administration has increased the budget for counseling over 200 percent, with the President requesting another increase, to $50 million, in the coming fiscal year.”
 
After a Joint Economic Committee report “Sheltering Neighborhoods from the Subprime Foreclosure Storm,” which found that a rise in subprime delinquencies in the early months of 2007 indicate more foreclosure trouble to come, Schumer made a proposal for $300 million in new federal funds to be directed to community non-profit groups via the Department of Housing and Urban Development to boost refinancing programs to help homeowners to avoid foreclosures.
 
Over the next two years, nearly 2 million homeowners with adjustable-rate mortgages will experience payment shocks as their loans reset in a weakening housing market, a harbinger of more foreclosures to come. Acting to prevent these foreclosures is not only important from the perspective of protecting entire communities, but it also makes good economic sense. Foreclosures can cost up to $80,000 for all stakeholders – homeowners, neighbors, cities and local governments, lenders, and loan services. Meanwhile, estimates suggest that foreclosure prevention counseling can cost as little as $1,000 per household. To be successful, these programs require one-on-one counseling with the homeowner and negotiations with a variety of stakeholders – making them very resource-intensive. The rising wave of subprime foreclosures has caused existing programs to become overwhelmed by requests for assistance, and they are struggling to give homeowners in trouble the assistance they require in order to successfully workout a suitable payment plan with the lenders.
 
The Joint Economic Committee, established under the Employment Act of 1946, was created by Congress to review economic conditions and to analyze the effectiveness of economic policy.
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JEC CHAIRMAN SCHUMER QUESTIONS BUSH JOBS RECORD, URGES SHIFT IN OVERALL ECONOMIC POLICY
 
President Bush Virtually Tied with Father for Worst Job Creation Record of Any U.S. President Since Hoover
 
Bush Would Have to Create Nearly 1 Million Jobs a Month to Equal Clinton’s Job Creation Record
 
Washington, DC:  Today U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer (D-NY), the chairman of the Joint Economic Committee (JEC), responded to May’s employment figures released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).  According to BLS the unemployment rate remained at 4.5 percent in May, 157,000 total payroll jobs were created, and job creation in March and April was revised down slightly from earlier estimates.
 
Sen. Schumer stated, “While these jobs numbers aren't as bad as expected, they're still not close to where they should be.  On balance, the disappointing patterns in recent monthly jobs reports are a drumbeat for a change in the direction of our economic, energy, and trade policies.  Even if you don’t compare the Bush administration’s job creation record with the successes of his immediate predecessor, it is still the worst since President Hoover.  The Bush administration would need to create nearly a million jobs a month to equal the gains made by the Clinton administration."
 
The Clinton administration created 22.7 million jobs, while the Bush administration has added only 5.4 million jobs so far. The Bush administration would need to create another 17 million jobs in the remainder of their term to be on par with the previous administration’s employment record.  That would require the unlikely creation of nearly a million jobs per month for the remainder of his presidency. 
 
The May Employment Report in Perspective:
Overall, there are 6.8 million unemployed Americans, and 4.9 million additional workers who want a job but are not counted among the unemployed (including about 1.4 million who have searched for work enough to be considered marginally attached to the labor force). An additional 4.5 million people work part-time for economic reasons.
 
The unemployment rate would be 8.2 percent if the figure included those who are marginally attached to the labor force and those who are forced to work part-time for economic reasons. 
 
Growth in payroll employment has been modest by the standards of past economic recoveries.  Payrolls have grown by 1.4 percent over the past year, and the 12-month pace has declined since the start of last year.  By comparison, at the same point in the 1990s recovery, 12-month growth in payrolls was 2.1 percent and rising.
 
Moreover, while the unemployment rate has come down from its peak of 6.3 percent in June 2003, May’s 4.5 percent rate is still higher than the 4 percent rate achieved in the expansion of the 1990s. 
 
Many labor market indicators remain weaker than they were at the start of the 2001 recession in March 2001. The labor force participation rate is 1.2 percentage points lower than when the recession began and the fraction of the working-age population with a job is 1.3 percentage points lower.  Long-term unemployment also persists. About one in every six unemployed people – 1.1 million Americans – have been jobless for more than 26 weeks, the maximum number of weeks for receiving regular unemployment insurance benefits.
 
The Joint Economic Committee, established under the Employment Act of 1946, was created by Congress to review economic conditions and to analyze the effectiveness of economic policy.
 
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JOINT ECONOMIC COMMITTEE CHAIR CALLS REVISED GDP FIGURES ‘ANEMIC’
 
Schumer: Anemic Growth a Wake Up Call for Major Policy Shift in Trade, National Investments, Energy, and Housing
 
0.6 Percent Growth Is Far Below 3-3.5 Percent GDP Growth Deemed Sustainable by Economists
 
Washington, DCToday U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer (D-NY), the chairman of the Joint Economic Committee(JEC), released the flowing statement in reaction to the Department of Commerce revised estimates that the nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) grew only 0.6 percent in the first quarter of 2007. The GDP is the most comprehensive measure of our domestic production.
 
Sen. Schumer stated, “Today’s anemic GDP growth rate should serve as a wake-up call for all those who argue that this administration’s economic policies have been working. It’s time to change direction, rein in out trade deficit, and strengthen investment in innovative industry, kick our dependence on foreign oil, and bolster confidence in our housing market by stemming the tide of subprime foreclosures.”
 
The Bureau of Economic Analysis in the Department of Commerce includes more complete and more accurate first-quarter data leading to a downward revision for the GDP. The change from BEA’s earlier estimate of Q1 growth at 1.3 percent reflected a downward revision to inventory accumulation and an upward revision to imports.
 
Over the past year, the economy has grown at a 1.9 percent rate. That’s also well below the 3 – 3½ percent pace most economists believe to be sustainable over the longer run.
 
The Joint Economic Committee, established under the Employment Act of 1946, was created by Congress to review economic conditions and to analyze the effectiveness of economic policy.
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AS MEMORIAL DAY DRIVING SEASON BEGINS:
NEW JEC ANALYSIS REVEALS THAT RAISING FUEL ECONOMY STANDARDS WOULD SAVE AMERICAN FAMILIES THOUSANDS
 
Schumer, Klobuchar and Casey Release Joint Economic Cmte Report Revealing that American Households Could Save Thousands if CAFE Standards Were Raised
 
With Gas Prices at New Record Highs, $3.23 per Gallon Today, Raising Fuel Efficiency Standards Could Help Bring Prices Back Under Control
 
JEC Reports that Record Gasoline Prices Will Raise Families’ Spending on Gas to Almost $3,180 This Year Alone
 
Washington, D.C:  As Memorial Day weekend approaches and the average gas prices hit record-highs of $3.22 a gallon, U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer (D-NY), Chairman of the Joint Economic Committee, released a report today that reveals that the average American family could save thousands if the federal government increased fuel economy standards.  Sen. Schumer was joined by Senators Bob Casey (D-PA) and Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), also member of the Joint Economic Committee.  The report entitled “Money in the Bank, Not in the Tank,” will also show that the average American family will spend approximately $3,180 on gas this year alone, due to record-high gas prices. 
 
Sen. Schumer said, “Instead of families sticking a little extra money into their banks, they’re sticking lots of extra money into their gas tanks.  Increased fuel economy standards for our cars and trucks will save American families thousands of dollars, bring down out of control gas prices, clean our air, and reduce our dependence on foreign oil.”
 
“American families feel it first when gas prices hit record levels – especially during this time of the year when families in my state pack their cars and head up north for what we call ‘Lake Season,’” said Sen. Klobuchar. “They deserve real solutions that will reap real savings and raising fuel economy standards can do exactly that.”
 
“That CAFE standards are the same now as they were 20 years ago is a disservice to consumers, the environment and innovation that can reduce our dependence on foreign oil,” said Sen. Casey.  “This report makes clear the benefit of increased fuel efficiency to the pocketbooks of Americans struggling to pay gas prices that have doubled since 2001.”
 
The full report is available at www.jec.senate.gov.
 
In 1992, the average household spent about $973 (or 3.26 percent of its budget) on gasoline and motor oil. In every year since 1992, annual average household spending on gasoline has increased faster than the rate of inflation.  This year, the average family can expect to spend about $2,442 on gas, based on the Department of Energy’s (DOE) projected average gas price of $2.72 per gallon for 2007.
 
Households that increase their average fuel efficiency to 35 miles per gallon would save about 22 percent of their current expenditures on fuel, and those increasing their average fuel economy to 40 miles per gallon would save about 30 percent.  Based on the DOE’s projected average annual gas price of $2.72 for 2007, families with teenagers can save $865 a year, or about $4,300 over five years, by upgrading to vehicles that get 35 mpg; the same families could save $1,320 a year, or $6,600 over five years, by driving vehicles with 40 mpg fuel efficiency.  These savings only increase in value as gas prices rise.
 
The U.S. ranks last in the industrialized world when it comes to fuel efficiency. As of 2002, when the U.S. average fuel efficiency was 24.1 mpg, the following countries were far ahead:
* The European Union (EU) fleet fuel efficiency was 37.2 mpg, which may be raised to 51.5 by 2012. 

* Canada averaged 25.6 mpg in 2002, which could be raised to 32.0 mpg by 2010.

* Australia averaged 29.1 mpg and is expected to raise its fuel economy to 34.4 mpg by 2010.

* Japan averaged 46.3 mpg, and could be up to 48.0 mpg by 2010.


* China averaged 29.3 mpg in 2002, and is projected to reach 36.7 mpg by 2008. 
 
The current Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards, which were put in place in 1975, require a fuel efficiency standard of only 27.5 miles per gallon, and the overall U.S. fuel economy is only 25.4 miles per gallon, lower than it was in 1987, when overall fuel economy peaked at 26.2 miles per gallon.  While this was a 53 percent increase over the average fuel economy of cars 32 years ago, the federal government has done little to increase fuel efficiency for passenger vehicles over the past thirty years.
 
The Joint Economic Committee, established under the Employment Act of 1946, was created by Congress to review economic conditions and to analyze the effectiveness of economic policy.
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SCHUMER: FED CHAIR BERNANKE ON THE RIGHT TRACK, BUT WE NEED ACTION NOW TO STEM TIDE OF FORECLOSURES DUE TO SOFTENING IN SUBPRIME MORTGAGE MARKET
 
Today, Sen. Charles E. Schumer (D-NY), Chairman of the Joint Economic Committee and the Senate Housing Subcommittee, released a statement in reaction to remarks made by Ben Bernanke, Chairman of the Federal Reserve Board, on the subprime mortgage marker and its impact on the economy.
 
“It’s good news that chairman Bernanke and the Fed may finally be cracking down on abusive lending in the housing market later this summer. But we must take action today to stem the tide of foreclosures sweeping through out neighborhoods,” Sen. Schumer said. “I hope that Chairman Bernanke is right when he says that a slumping housing market will not affect the broader economy, but I would not be the house on it.”
 
Sen. Schumer introduced the first comprehensive plan to help homeowners avoid foreclosures by boosting funds to community groups that provide financial counseling to homeowner who need to refinance and restructure their mortgages. He also introduces a separate bill to establish standards to hold mortgage originators accountable for the loans they make and requiring proof that borrowers can pay for their loans if mortgage rates spike after a year or two. The details on both of those proposals can be found at
 
The Joint Economic Committee released a study on the rising foreclosure and negative economic impact on local communities of a spike in foreclosures from a faltering subprime mortgage market. The full study can be found at
 
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HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY? NEW JEC REPORT REVEALS MILITARY MOMS FACE TOUGH CHALLENGES TO GET MENTAL HEALTH CARE, CHILD CARE, AND FAMILY LEAVE
 
Retaining Qualifies and Trained Service Members Is A Growing Problem Because Military Can’t Provide Child Care for 35,000 Kids, Lacks Comparable Federal Family Leave Benefits, and Offers Limited Mental Health Services
 
Schumer and Maloney Release Joint Economic Committee Report Highlighting Progress Made and Work Still to Be Done to Give Military Moms the Benefits They Deserve
 
Washington, DC – U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer and Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY). Chairman and Vice Chairman respectively of the Joint Economic Committee (JEC), released a Mother’s Day report revealing that mothers serving in the military and spouses of soldiers face difficult child care access, leave and health care services challenges. Women represent one in seven U.S. military personnel in Iraq. Like all mothers, military moms face challenges in meeting monthly expenses, getting good child care and health care for their families and themselves. But military moms face the added burden of longer deployments and frequent separation from their children and spouses. While the military has taken steps to address the needs of mothers, the JEC report finds that more still needs to be done.
 
Sen. Schumer said, “Military moms are a special breed who sacrifice a lot for very little in return. America owes them a tremendous debt for their service and the service of their loved ones. Military moms should have easy access to mental health care, quality child care, and enough time off to spend with their newborn and sick children. If the military want to keep its best and brightest, it should wish them a Happy Mother’s Day in action, not just words.”
 
The full report “This Mother’s Day: Helping Military Moms Balance Work and Longer Deployments” can be found at www.jec.senate.gov.
 
The Joint Economic Committee report found big challenges facing military mothers:

* Child care services are not meeting current needs, which doesn’t reflect increased deployment demands;


* Short family leave periods after child birth and adoption hurt retention of women; and


* Limited resources for mental health services to help military mothers and their children cope with the periods before, during and after deployment
 
“Making sure military mother have the quality child care, generous family leave, and access to mental health services they need is key to their family well-being and our national security,” said Rep. Maloney. “Our military families are sacrificing so much in the defense of our nation. We need to do all we can to support our troops. Not addressing these issues could have serious implications for the retention of women in the military, and the readiness and effectiveness of our forces.”
 
Child Care Costs:
Since the U.S. military’s presence in Iraq, hundreds of thousands of children have seen one or both parents leave for deployment. According to the Department of Defense, in September 2006, approximately 230,000 children had parents in Iraq, Afghanistan, or the Horn of Africa.
 
The military has increased the number of available child care centers, but the National Military Families Association estimates that the military is approximately 35,000 short expected need.
 
Short Family Leave:
A 2002 Government Accountability Office (GAO) study found that more than one third of attrition for female enlistees in 1993 wad triggered by pregnancy and child-care concerns and approximately 10 percent of all active duty women become pregnant every year and evidence indicates this problem will continue to be a problem during the current conflict.
 
New mothers may only take six weeks of paid convalescent leave after the birth of a child. Both new mothers and new fathers may also use annual leave. New mothers on deployment receive a 4-to-6 month deferment from deployment duty away from the home station for the period immediately following the birth of a child.
 
Access to Mental Health Services:
Studies showed that after Operation Desert Storm and Operation Desert Shield, women with children reported a higher rate of emotional health problem after deployment (64 percent) than women without children (39 percent), including anxiety and difficulty readjusting after deployment. In addition, children reported emotional stress during their parents’ absence. At the time, mothers had difficulties accessing appropriate services, negatively impacting their and their children’s’ mental health and relationships.
 
This month, a Department of Defense study released found that lengthier deployments in Iraq are adversely affecting service members’ mental health.
Important Facts about Military Mothers:

* Women make up approximately 14.3 percent of the active duty military (one in seven).


* Nearly half of all women in active duty force have been deployed to Iraq or   Afghanistan, and according to the Department of Defense in February 2007, 24,475 women are currently deployed to Iraq or Afghanistan.

* Nearly half of women in the active duty force are in the lower pay grades, earningbetween $14,436 and $24,744 as their base salary.

* Forty Percent of Women in the Active Duty Force Are Mothers.
 

* Majority of First-Time Military Moms are Young and Low-to-Moderate Income Mothers.
 

* Military spouses and their children make up a significant percentage of the larger military community and 93 percent of military spouses are women.
 
The full report “This Mother’s Day: Helping Military Moms Balance Work and Longer Deployments” can be found at www.jec.senate.gov.
 
The Joint Economic Committee, established under the Employment Act of 1946, was created by Congress to review economic conditions and to analyze the effectiveness of economic policy.
 
 
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SCHUMER: ‘HIGHER TRADE DEFICIT POURS FUEL
ON FIRE – BUSH ADMIN. MUST ACT QUICKLY ON
CHINA TRADE POLICY’
 
Overall Trade Imbalance Grows to $64 Billion, a Six-Month High,
 Even With U.S. Exports Rising Slightly
 
Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer, Chairman of the Joint Economic Committee, responded to new and rising trade deficit trade figures released by the Census Bureau today. The Census Bureau reported that for the month of March the trade deficit expanded to $63.9 billion, even though U.S. exports rose slightly.
 
Sen. Schumer said, “Higher monthly trade deficit numbers pour more fuel on the fire burning under this Administration to really do something on trade policy, especially when it comes to trade with China. The trade deficit numbers are critical because they represent I.O.U.s that our kids and grandkids will have to pay back later. This Administration needs to clamp down on high deficits and in particular force China to play fairly when it comes to currency valuation and free access to economic markets.”
 
The Joint Economic Committee, established under the Employment Act of 1946, was created by Congress to review economic conditions and to analyze the effectiveness of economic policy.
 
 
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SCHUMER: SLOWEST JOB GROWTH SINCE NOVEMBER 2004 COMBINED WITH WEAK HOUSING MARKET, RAISES SERIOUS CONCERNS
 
Increased Unemployment Rate, Downwardly Revised Employment Figures for Last Two Months, and Lower Labor Force Participation Rate Indicate Job Growth Must Be a Higher Priority for Administration
 
 
Washington, D.C.U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer, Chairman of the Joint Economic Committee, responded to new jobs numbers from the Bureau of Labor Statistics which indicated that the unemployment rate edged up to 4.5 percent in April, and only 88,000 total payroll jobs were created, the slowest monthly job growth since November of 2004. Non-government jobs grew by only 63,000. Job creation in February and March was also revised down from earlier estimates.
 
Sen. Schumer said “The slowest job growth since November of 2004, coupled with a weak housing market, raises important concerns about the health of the overall U.S. economy. Job creation needs to be a higher priority for this administration if we’re going to make sure that families can achieve their aspirations and America can maintain its global economic leadership.”
 
Highlights of today’s employment figures:

    *  Growth in payroll employment has been modest by the standards of past economic recoveries. Payrolls have grown by 1.4 percent over the past year, and the 12-month pace has been slowing since the start of last year. By comparison, at the same point in the 1990s recovery, 12-month growth in payrolls was 2.2 percent and rising.

    * While the unemployment rate has come down from its peak of 6.3 percent in June 2003, April’s 4.5 percent rate is still higher than the 4 percent rate achieved in the expansion of the 1990s.

    * Many labor market indicators remain weaker than they were at the start of the 2001 recession in March 2001.
         1. The labor force participation rate is 1.2 percentage points lower than when the recession began and the fraction of the working-age population with a job is 1.3 percentage points lower.
         2. One in every six unemployed people – 1.2 million Americans – have been jobless for more than 26 weeks, the maximum number of weeks for receiving regular unemployment insurance benefits.

    * Overall, there are 6.8 million unemployed Americans, and 4.8 million additional    workers who want a job but are not counted among the unemployed (including about 1.4 million who have searched for work enough to be considered marginally attached to the labor force). An additional 4.4 million people work part-time for economic reasons.

    * The unemployment rate would be 8.2 percent if the figure included those who are marginally attached to the labor force and those who are forced to work part-time for economic reasons.



The Joint Economic Committee, established under the Employment Act of 1946, was created by Congress to review economic conditions and to analyze the effectiveness of economic policy.
 
 
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JOINT ECONOMIC COMMITTEE CHAIR CALLS WEAK HOUSING MARKET AND HIGH TRADE DEFICITS ‘BODY BLOWS TO U.S. ECONOMY’
 
Four Consecutive Quarters of Slower-Than-Expected GDP Growth Call into Question Administration’s Economic, Tax, and Trade Policy
 
Schumer: ‘Body Blows to U.S. Economy Must Be Countered by Sound Economic Policy from the Bush Administration’
 
Washington, DC:  Today U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer (D-NY), the chairman of the Joint Economic Committee (JEC), reacted to the Department of Commerce advance report of slower-than-expected, 1.3 percent growth in the nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).  The GDP is the most comprehensive measure of our domestic production. While China’s GDP growth in the last quarter was 11 percent, the United States experienced its worst quarter of growth in four years, due in part to a continuing serious slowdown in housing investment and a widening trade deficit. 
 
Sen. Schumer stated, “The anemic U.S. economic growth of 1.3 percent this quarter is not surprising given the weak housing market and an increasing trade deficit.  These body blows to U.S. economy must be countered by sound economic policy from the Bush Administration.  Their economic, tax, and trade policy have been in a tailspin from the start, but it is not too late to shift course.”
 
“The gross domestic product is the clearest indicator of U.S. economic growth, but in this quarter and for the last four quarters straight, our GDP growth has been weaker than expected,” Sen. Schumer continued.  “As China experiences break-neck, double-digit GDP growth, this Administration must work with the Congress to reduce U.S. trade and budget deficits and take control of our economic future.”
 
The Joint Economic Committee provided additional analysis of today’s economic news:
  • Gross domestic product (GDP) growth slowed sharply to a 1.3 percent annual rate during the first quarter of 2007.  That first-quarter growth was 1.2 percentage points below the economy’s 2.5 percent pace in the fourth quarter of last year and the slowest quarterly gain since early 2003.  In the first quarter, real GDP was 2.1 percent above its level a year earlier. 
 
  • Economic growth remains below the 3 to 3¼ percent pace that most economists believe to be sustainable over the long term.  The first quarter is the fourth consecutive quarter of sub par economic growth.
 
  • Investment in housing declined 17 percent in the first quarter shaving one percentage point off the overall GDP growth rate.  Though slightly less than the decline in the fourth quarter of last year, the  first-quarter drop was the fourth consecutive double-digit quarterly decline in housing investment.
 
  • A widening trade deficit, slower growth in consumer spending, and a decline in federal government spending were significant factors in the first-quarter slowing in economic growth.   The trade deficit widened in the first quarter (reflecting a downturn in exports and an uptick in imports); real (inflation-adjusted) consumer spending on nondurable goods grew at a 2.9 percent annual rate in the first quarter, as compared with its 5.9 percent pace in the fourth quarter; and real federal government spending decreased at a 3.0 percent annual rate in the first quarter after gaining 4.6 percent in the fourth quarter, reflecting a first-quarter decline of 6.6 percent in real defense spending.
 
The Department of Commerce releases its advance first-quarter estimate of GDP before March data are available on some components on GDP (particularly, the trade deficit and inventory change).  The Department will revise its first-quarter estimates in late May, using more complete data.
 
The Joint Economic Committee, established under the Employment Act of 1946, was created by Congress to review economic conditions and to analyze the effectiveness of economic policy.
 
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